Old Calabria By Norman Douglas

 -  Why
an image of the Mother of God should be decked with this worldly symbol,
as a reward for services - Page 400
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Why An Image Of The Mother Of God Should Be Decked With This Worldly Symbol, As A Reward For Services Rendered, Will Be Obscure Only To Those Who Fail To Appreciate The Earthly-Tangible Complexion Of Southern Religion. Puerility Is Its Key-Note.

The Italian is either puerile or adult; the Englishman remains everlastingly adolescent.

. . .

Now of course it is open to any one to say that the pious records from which I have quoted are a desolation of the spirit; that they possess all the improbability of the "Arabian Nights," and none of their charm; that all the distempered dreamings to which our poor humanity is subject have given themselves a rendezvous in their pages. I am not for disputing the point, and I can understand how one man may be saddened by their perusal, while another extracts therefrom some gleams of mirth. For my part, I merely verify this fact: the native has been fed with this stuff for centuries, and if we desire to enter into his feelings, we must feed ourselves likewise - up to a point. The past is the key to the present. That is why I have dwelt at such length on the subject - in the hope of clearing up the enigma in the national character: the unpassable gulf, I mean, between the believing and the unbelieving sections of the community.

An Anglo-Saxon arriving at Bagnara and witnessing a procession in honour of that Sacred Hat of the Mother of God which has led me into this disquisition, would be shocked at the degree of bigotry implied.

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